It occurs to me that when you search for an acquisition opportunity, it is very important, first of all, to be both thoughtful and systematic.
Take whatever time you need to carefully study and to determine what kind of business it is you are looking to acquire. Calkins recommends creating an acquisition strategy that includes a detailed acquisition criteria. After a great deal of thought, determine what type of business you seek to acquire and why acquiring such a business makes sense for you.
Armed with the acquisition criteria, be systematic and thorough in your company acquisition search. Access all of the relevant databases and lists, and cast your nets widely to be absolutely sure that you are able to find all of the prospective acquisition targets that are exactly or close to what you are targeting with your acquisition criteria.
I have worked with clients who have used advertisements, direct mail mail, telephone calls and various other methods for approaching prospective acquisition targets. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of being both systematic and thorough in the acquisition search process.
While being systematic and thorough, also be opportunistic in your search. In other words be open to the possibility that you might identify acquisition targets other than through your systematic and thorough search. Quite literally you might stumble onto a legitimate acquisition target through networking, by speaking with your attorney or other professional advisors and in various and sundry other ways. I have put many buyers and sellers together over the years and in the process created a number of very profitable opportunities for my clients.
A case in point is that Rick Martinko sought an acquisition opportunity literally for years with no success and it was based solely on my informal networking that he stumbled onto the HeatSeal acquisition opportunity which reportedly was a home run for Rick, Ron Ziske (whom I had introduced to Rick and who later managed the acquired business) and their investors.
The more serious your process the greater the likelihood of success you have in your acquisition search. That is a sure thing. So set youself up for success with a serious process.
But be open to the possibility that the best acquisition opportunity might quite literally jump up and hit you in the face.
Tough times go away, tough people do not. ~ Walter Payton, NFL Running Back